Back in the saddle

After a two week break for school holidays and a nice rest for the gee-gees, RDA commenced Term 4 this week.  Wheeeeeeee.  The two week horsey-less hiatus was hellish, health-wise [but gee can I ever alliterate] so I was incredibly happy and bouncy to get out there for my first lesson on Tuesday afternoon.

Yay;  horsies!  I was so pleased to see my cranky pony again.  I gave him an extra-long grooming and he positively gleamed!  He’s lost the last of his winter fuzz and is sporting a sleek summer outfit.  Well, except for the thick 50 cm long mane and ground-brushing tailio … He went beautifully for me, so responsive and very full of zip.  Heaven.  Sue [coach] kept the lesson very slow and steady, so I wouldn’t over-do things after the break, but I was champing at the bit as much as L. 

Lucky me, though;  Marie – the other coach – let me stay on for another 15 minutes or so after the lesson, while getting the other riders off and the next class on, so I sneaked in some extended trot and serpentines, whee!  L. was just waiting for me to ask for a canter but I didn’t want to push my luck . . . After that Marie got me to help hose down L. and a couple of the other horses, it being a very hot day and everyone sweating. 

Hosing the horses down was fun; one of them really loved it and was bending his head into the spray and slurping out of the nozzle; L. being a big girl’s blouse danced around on his toes going “nooooo! Am a delicate princess!  Don’t let that scary water-snakey-thing near me aaiiieeeee” before giving up and standing with his head down like a fat old cart-horse.  And of course Marie and I did not get into a water fight, with hoses and buckets of water and sponges flying, I deny the mere suggestion!

Thursday morning was lesson no. two of the week and *gasp!* I didn’t ride L.  Sue got me to ride two of the new horses [not at the same time, d’oh] the centre had bought just before the break.  They aren’t being used in lessons proper yet, as they need a fair bit of work and training, adjusting to new tasks. 

The first half of the lesson I rode a 16.3 hh Standardbred [ex-pacer] so that was a bit of an adjustment for me, after “my” 14.2 hh boyo.  I have to admit I did not feel comfortable up there at all, and not just the difference in height.  Although he was responsive enough, his gaits did not suit me at all.  Oh okay he was just plain ugly to ride, each hoof landing jarred the teeth in my head and he leaned his head reeeeaaaally heavily on my hands.  Yes, he’d be better with a better rider; and he’ll be fine as a lead-line horse but no, not for me.   He was plain ugly to look at as well.  Basically okay but very bony with hardly any rump / croup and spine sticking up, poor bastard.   He needs about 100 kg of muscle on him . . . lucky for him the RDA bought him and will “rescue” him and give him a better life. 

I was also using a stock saddle which I loathe, so big and bulky.  The centre uses them for the bigger horses and heavier less balanced riders, and I can see the point of that but I feel that a good dressage saddle encourages a better seat and overall posture, just by it’s design.   Stock saddles hurt when one is a fragile little flower with tender joints et al!

My next mount in the game of Musical Horses was a very, very pretty little paint mare – who could easily donate weight to the Standardbred!   When the RDA bought her the vet said she needed to lose 120 kg – she’d been in a very green lush paddock eating her head off for months.  The girth for the Clydesdale-cross barely went round her!  She had lost a bit of weight since, so I wasn’t in immediate danger of ending up hanging upside down underneath her belly due to saddle slippage.  She was much more my style being quick and cute with nice smooth gaits.  I would have liked much longer on her, as half an hour just isn’t enough time to get the feel of a new horse, so I’ll ask for her in one of next week’s lessons. 

It was fun trying different horses – and being a guinea pig! – but I missed my L.  He’s definitely MY boy.

. . . . . . . . . .

The health hellishness was a fortnight of constant severe migraine, fainting and vertigo, extreme fatigue and lethargy; overall nasty and really, really boring.  I was especially pissed off as I’d wanted to spend the time kick-starting my exercise programme and doing stuff around the house.  Needless to say I achieved zip.  Grrr. 

[I did have some comprehensive blood work done;  it struck me as being somewhat counter-productive to have someone being tested for iron and B12 deficiencies, low blood sugar levels etc etc etc to fast for 24 hours and then draw about a pint . . . I wanted to ask for it back once they were done with it!  Even the tech peered at me in a concerned fashion post-draw and said I looked like I could do with a transfusion . . .]

Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up my exercise regime again, now I’m back horse-riding, and seem to have a bit more energy.  My “routine” has slipped over the past couple of months, which is frustrating, plus I’m feeling horribly fat* and the only way I can get rid of the flab is to increase the cardio portion of my routine.  There’s a slight Catch-22 situation in that I can’t exercise much / at all when I’m in so much pain et al I can’t get out of bed, right?   I also can’t eat less or diet as [a] I don’t eat enough as it is and [b] the gluten free diet is ultra-strict and I don’t eat anything fried or junky or processed to be omitted.

* Tux, being the gorgeous supportive husband, assures me I’m not that bad and I know rationally that I’m not grotesque, just a bit plumper than my preferred weight, but FFSL** do I feel like a disgustingly gross cow.

** FFSL : Irish acronym = For Fuck’s Sake, Like

So:  new exercise regime starts now.  Much of it is the same – all the core-work, stretching, Pilates etc – but I’m adding in more resistance training.  I’ve ordered a new fit-ball with a “Ball Web”, a webbing strap that runs pole-to-pole and round the equator of the ball and has a resistance band [made of bungee jumping cord] with handles so I can do a wider variety of exercises with it.  My poor neglected Concept 2 rowing machine has been dusted off, that will cover the cardio portion and give a good total body workout. 

Walking and swimming would be great too, but both are problematic these days [physically and logistically].  My gorgeous GP has given me a contact for a “real” rowing school, which would be fun and fabulous to get out on the water especially in summer – but there again I hit the aforementioned Catch-22 situation, which is why working out at home, doing what I can when I can, is the most feasible option.  Thank miscellaneous pagan gods for iPods and pretty HDTV’s with Blu-Ray and PS 3 . . .  And of course, one is never alone with the voices in one’s head!

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  • Sue  On Tuesday 28 October 2008 at 4:45 am

    Hilarious about the hosing: Delilah HATES the water, throws back her head, rolls back her eyes, and dances around like Muhammed Ali! She also hates being groomed, with the comb and brush. She’ll allow a scratch, by hand, on the withers, but that’s it. I will not go near her feet.
    Rebel loves to be brushed on his face, it’s the only time he gets all ‘Ooohhhh I will allow your affection’.
    Happy summer! The nights have just closed in over here, FFSL 🙂

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